Salvation Army’s Red Shield Appeal calls for donations to leave no one in need during COVID-19
With extensive experience working with – and advocating for – people in need, Major Brendan Nottle, manager at The Salvation Army’s Project 614 in Melbourne has become the face of the Red Shield Appeal 2020. Knowing only too well the impact COVID-19 has had on the already-vulnerable, as well as those needing the Salvos for the very first time, he is asking for those who can donate to please do so.
As the Salvos’ signature fundraising drive, the Red Shield Appeal asks for donations each year to fund its many programs and services around Australia supporting people in crisis. Where thousands of volunteers would ordinarily collect donations at intersections and shopping centres over the Doorknock weekend, this year the coronavirus pandemic has sent them online asking people to donate through the inaugural ‘Digital Doorknock’.
614 reasons to care and help others
Working with a team of 25 full and part-time employees and more than 1000 volunteers, Brendan Nottle has received plenty of recognition for his work at Project 614. Assisting people experiencing homelessness and those suffering from mental health issues, addiction or financial hardship, Project 614 supplies up to 3000 meals each week and works to help create pathways out of marginalisation through counselling, training, volunteering, employment and accommodation options.
Passionate about addressing the issues that contribute to homelessness and disadvantage, Brendan has introduced a range of empowering programs and services at Project 614 that seek to transform the lives of clients and afford them the dignity they rightly deserve. These innovative services are only made possible by the generous donations received during the Red Shield Appeal.
The steep rise that Brendan has seen in the number of people coming forward to seek support, is of great concern. From the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, the demand for emergency relief at Project 614 has tripled, with Salvos now seeing people who have never asked for help before.
“We’ve particularly seen more men coming to us, often with a mate, as they’re embarrassed and don’t really know how to ask for help,” says Brendan. “But we’re here for anyone who needs a hand up and we encourage people to contact us if they need support.”
Project 614 is a unique Salvation Army mission located in the heart of Melbourne CBD with many projects supporting the local community.
In partnership with the Collingwood FC Foundation, Project 614’s Magpie Nest Housing initiative provides accommodation in a clean and safe environment for the homeless, as well as support services for women and children experiencing family violence.
The new ‘Concierge’ program employs people who were previously homeless, to liaise with rough sleepers on Melbourne’s streets and get them the help they need through the Salvos, while ‘The Marketplace’ provides a wide selection of food, clothing, and other necessities. Other services provided at Project 614 include; physiotherapy, barber, café, primary health nurse, social enterprise warehouse, women's worker, a community work shed, craft programs and Sunday worship.
Salvos services adapt to COVID-19 restrictions
The COVID-19 emergency has challenged all Australians in different ways exposing many to financial hardship for the first time and putting the already vulnerable at increased risk. Salvation Army services have been adapted in order to minimise risk while maintaining important community connections over this time.
“We had to move fast, since the people we assist are in a high-risk category. It truly was a matter of life or death,” says Brendan. “We immediately enforced social distancing in all our services and secured donations of essential safety supplies including masks and gloves. We had to close our dine-in café but are still providing free essential [takeaway] meals to our community members through our laneway window service.”
The Salvos team has been reaching out every couple of days to the 140 adults and children who are residents at their Magpie Nest homes. “We’ve also worked hard to help get 216 homeless people off the streets and into hotel accommodation to help combat the spread of COVID-19,” says Brendan.
“COVID-19 has seen everyday Aussies face greater hardship than they have ever experienced before, impacting their physical, mental and financial health. We’re here to help – and we’re looking forward to the generous support of Australians through the Red Shield Appeal.”
With unemployment rates predicted to almost double, The Salvation Army across Australia is bracing itself for ongoing increases in people seeking help for financial hardship, homelessness and domestic violence. Now, more than ever, Salvos are needed to help people get through this crisis.
Meeting people at their point of need
As Australia’s largest provider of homelessness services, The Salvation Army not only assists with emergency accommodation, meals and support for the homeless, but also works to actively address the leading causes of homelessness to prevent even more people from sleeping rough.
Salvos operate national programs and services in the areas of family and domestic violence, housing, financial assistance, alcohol or other drug addiction, and youth services. The Doorways programs offer emergency relief for people experiencing financial hardship, by providing food, vouchers and help with bills, along with referrals for extra support.
To address unemployment and underemployment, Salvos provide employment services as well as skills training and financial counselling, while Salvos Housing works to secure long-term accommodation for people at risk.
In a single year The Salvation Army provides more than one million sessions of care to Australians in need, helps 46,000 people experiencing homelessness, provides financial counselling to more than 65,000 and offers support to around 13,000 people experiencing family violence.
The thousands of lives transformed by the work of the Salvos each year is only made possible by your generosity.
Support the Red Shield Appeal.